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The Local Islamic Associations and the Party-State

Consanguinity and opportunities
Jérôme Doyon
Translated by Will Thornely
p. 37-44


For a revolution over “culture,” remarkably little has been said about the Cultural Revolution culture itself, and even less about the apolitical, private art produced underground. This article explores this apolitical, private art, arguing that it was a “rebellion of the heart” against the state’s ruthless destruction of the private sphere. Mao’s Party-state drastically fragmented families, moulding socialist subjects through “revolution deep down into the soul.” Paintings of (broken) homes and interiors, flowers, and moonlight articulate lived experiences of the revolution while silently reinventing a private refuge for the body and soul to subsist beyond state control. Defying orthodox revolutionary mass culture, this apolitical art articulated private experience and created a private inner world for a new form of modern subjectivity, while generating community and human solidarity against relentless class struggle and alienation.

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Bibliographical reference

Jérôme Doyon, « The Local Islamic Associations and the Party-State », China Perspectives, 2014/4 | 2014, 37-44.

Electronic reference

Jérôme Doyon, « The Local Islamic Associations and the Party-State », China Perspectives [Online], 2014/4 | 2014, Online since 01 January 2017, connection on 29 February 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Jérôme Doyon

Jérôme Doyon is a PhD student in Political Sciences at SciencesPo/CERI (Paris) and Columbia University (New York).CERI, 56 rue Jacob, 75006 Paris

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